Chinese Breakdown (Key of D)
This is an online fiddle lesson for the tune "Chinese Breakdown." BluegrassDaddy.com is your best source for Bluegrass, Old Time, Celtic, Gospel, and Country fiddle lessons!
Genre: Bluegrass, Old Time
Skill Level: Intermediate (unless you count the trick fiddling)
Key of D
You may download and use any of the MP3s and tablature for your personal use. However, please do not make them available online or otherwise distribute them.
Video #1: This is a video from our summer of trick fiddling - try it at the risk of yourself and your fiddle...
This song is also known as “Chinese Rag,” “Beaver Valley Breakdown,” "Georgia Bust‑Down," "Georgia Breakdown,” and “Tiger Rag." The origins of this tune are unclear, although it is widespread from the South to Midwest, the American North and Canada and even to England and Scotland. “Chinese Breakdown” was first recorded by the “Dixie String Band” in 1925, followed a recording in Atlanta in 1927 by the Scottdale String Band, a group named in honor of the mill village of Scottdale, near Atlanta. It is possible that the tune was composed by Fred Roe of the Walker Mt. String Band (Joel Shimberg). “Chinese Breakdown” was recorded from Ozark Mountain fiddlers by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph for the Library of Congress in the early 1940's.
This version was inspired by the group Leahy, and is taught by my daughter who garnered it from their Live from Gatineau Quebec DVD, under the title "Novelty Act." It is a huge hit at Fiddle Camp, when all the kids play it "freestyle." Learn this fun tune, then get creative with the way you hold the fiddle!